[B]I, 18 Virama pratyaya abhyasa purvah samskara sisah anyah

Another form
of thorough knowledge
is preceded by resolute practice
to completely cease
identification with the contents of the mind.
As a result,
only subliminal impressions remain
and their residue
has no impact on the mind.[/b]

M. Stiles

And so our road map to samadhi continues !

Both Sw. Satchidananda and Shyam believe that this sutra describes asamprajnata (undistinguished) samadhi or nirbija (without seed) samadhi. In this state there is no ego or samskaras. This is the ultimate state of samadhi.

Iyengar, on the other hand, believes that it describes the penultimate stage. He provides examples of those that have experienced this stage and have emerged to reach nirbija samadhi; they include Sri Rmamkrishna, Ramana Maharshi and Sri Aurobindo.

I suppose knowing that there is a progression of stages within samadhi informs me that it can be a long journey back to the Self but because these stages are described, it is attainable; furthermore, these benchmarks provide guidance for this journey.

Iyengar, B.K.S., Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. New Delhi, India: Harper Collins Publications India. 1993

Swami Satchidananda, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Buckingham, VA: Integral Yoga Publications. 2004
Swami Shyam, Patanjali Yog Darshan, India: International Meditation Institute, 2001, 3rd. edition.

Stiles, M., Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Boston, MA: Red Wheel/Weiser LLC. 2002


I side with Desikachar who says that “The usual mental disturbances are absent. However, memories of the past continues”. These I understand to be our Samskars, but rather than cause disturbances these create NO new Karma. A person’s remaining life will be still be governed by his past Karmas. This view accords with my Buddhist teachings.


As I am using B.K.S. Iyengar’s Light on the yoga Sutras of Patanjali I have to rely on his interpetation of this sutra and as Lavina has said he talks about an intermediate state of Samadhi, which can be interpeted as virama pratyaya. This state he describes as: “the moment one loses the feeling of “I”, one is in this state of virama pratyaya , which is neither negative or positive”. From this state the sadhaksa may climb further up the spiritual ladder or my even get stuck at this level and may eventually “fall from the grace of yoga”. It sounds like there’s much work to be done on all levels, even the higher ones.


There is no end to yogic sadhana. to speculate on a final resting samadhi is not correct according to the Vasistha’s Yoga text. This book is much more comprehensive in answering ones yogic questions on the spiritual path. While the Yoga Sutras is helpful for giving more questions it does not supply the answer without guidance from a teacher. Vasistha is such a teacher who guides to all the student’s considerations. Some contemporary teachers are there too.


Taimni says that this sutra defines Asamprajnata Samadhi. The commentary is very interesting but difficult for me to summarise. Thank you for helping us maintain our study Lavina.

The Science of Yoga I K Taimni The Theosophical Publishing House 2005 p.41 - 4